DreamHost review

DreamHost Review: a Slice Simple WordPress Hosting Heaven

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DreamHost is a feature-packed host at a budget-friendly price. No matter what type of hosting environment you’re looking for, there’s a package to suit your needs. But, is it right for your blog or site?

Below we take a deep look at DreamHost, including the hosting packages offered and their features, to help you decide if it’s a good fit for your site.

DreamHost review

DreamHost Package Breakdown

DreamHost has been around for over 20 years. Relying on a host that has been around for a while means you can rest easy knowing they have worked out any service kinks.

Below we take a look at the various hosting packages offered.

Shared Hosting

DreamHost offers two kinds of shared hosting: Starter Shared and Shared Unlimited. Both of these plans cater to beginner and intermediate website owners.

The Starter Shared plan gives you 50GB storage, unlimited site visits, unmetered bandwidth, a free domain, and a free SSL certificate. Email accounts on this plan must be purchased separately.

Shared Unlimited upgrades include:

  • Unlimited number of domains
  • Unlimited email accounts
  • Unlimited MySQL databases
  • Unlimited disk space

Both shared plans come with DreamHost’s free website builder.

VPS Hosting

DreamHost offers VPS hosting for users that demand more power and the ability to handle higher volumes of traffic. Its VPS servers are Linux based and don’t currently support Windows servers.

Dreamhost VPS plans

The basic VPS plan has 1 GB of RAM and 30 GB of SSD storage. The highest-tier VPS plan provides 8 GB of RAM and 240 GB of SSD storage.

DreamHost VPS plans are equipped with:

  • Unlimited monthly bandwidth
  • Ability to host an unlimited number of domains
  • Unlimited email accounts
  • Unlimited MySQL databases

DreamHost doesn’t offer root access with their VPS plans.

Dedicated Server Hosting

If you have a fairly large website, receive a high volume of traffic, or need root access, then look at DreamHost’s dedicated hosting package. Dedicated hosting starts with 1TB of storage on HDD storage and has 4GB of RAM.

Dreamhost Dedicated plans

The dedicated servers only run on Ubuntu Linux, so if you require Windows-based servers, then you’ll need to find another host. DreamHost’s VPS plans are all managed plans, which come with features like:

  • Ability to host an unlimited number of domains
  • Full shell, SSH, FTP, and SFTP access
  • Local MySQL database server
  • Unlimited email accounts

There are a variety of dedicated hosting packages that top out at 64 GB of RAM and 2 TB HDD space. Only the highest tier plans provide SSD storage and they are capped at 240 GB.

WordPress Hosting

If you’re a WordPress site owner and are looking to get the most power and performance out of your WordPress site, DreamHost offers a special set of managed WordPress plans called DreamPress.

DreamPress features

DreamPress hosting comes with WordPress pre-installed and has benefits like daily automatic backups, automatic WordPress core upgrades, and WordPress expert support.

DreamPress packages come equipped with:

  • Caching to make WordPress faster
  • Easy-to-use staging server
  • Quickstart wizard
  • 30 GB to 120 GB of storage
  • Free SSL certificate preinstalled
  • Unlimited email accounts

Higher tier DreamPress plans include a CDN to speed up your site, priority customer support, and the JetPack Professional plugin for free, which will save you about $299 per year.

Cloud Hosting

DreamHost has two cloud hosting plans: Cloud Computing and Object Storage. These plans are perfect for those who want to run cloud-based applications on platforms like MongoDB, Redis, Python, Ruby, and Node.js.

DreamHost cloud hosting

DreamHost’s cloud plans offer you incredible speed, the ability to scale as you need, full root access, and even migration of your workloads to your own private cloud when necessary.

Cloud Computing plans feature customizable OpenStack cloud servers that go live in as little as 30 seconds. Cloud Plans begin with 100 GB of storage and free bandwidth. Depending upon the package you choose you’ll also have access to:

  • 1 vCPU to 4 vCPU
  • 512 MB to 8GB of RAM
  • 80 GB SSD Disk

Cloud Objects plans are essentially add-ons to the Cloud Computing plans. DreamHost calls these add-ons DreamObjects. They’re fully scalable and S3 compatible. DreamObjects come with free API requests, storage at 2.5¢ per GB per month, and downloads at 4¢ per GB month.

Control Panel Access

If you’re looking for typical cPanel access, then you might be a little frustrated. Instead of using the standard cPanel to let users manage their hosting environments, DreamHost has built its own control panel dubbed Web Panel.

DreamHost panel
The domain management page of DreamHost’s custom control panel.

Its web panel has been built from the ground up to provide a very intuitive platform for managing your hosting and has been designed with non-technical website owners in mind.

Web Panel Pros

DreamHost’s custom control panel offers a similar feature selection to cPanel, including things like:

  • Manage your subscriptions and billing
  • Access support, the knowledgebase, and community forum
  • Access and manage email
  • Manage your domains
  • Create and manage .htaccess
  • Create and manage your MySQL databases
  • Access any cloud hosting services
  • Configure and manage your VPS server
  • Access the Remixer site builder

It is nice being able to handle your billing, site management, support, and technical requests from the same dashboard.

Plus, one-click installs are much easier to use than cPanel.

Web Panel Cons

If you’ve been a strict user of cPanel, then you might find the switch to DreamHost’s Web Panel a little awkward. From the start, the design is much different and every feature is shown as a different icon.

With two separate menus for navigation, it might be a little difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for. However, once you overcome the confusing navigation, you’ll get used to its design rather quickly.

Finally, if you’re migrating over to DreamHost, then you’ll have to manually import all of your previous cPanel files and databases, which can be a hassle.

DreamHost Website Builder

For a long time, DreamHost didn’t have a built-in site builder to help beginner’s build out their first websites. But, with the recent release of Remixer, that problem is a thing of the past.

DreamPress Remixer website builder

Remixer allows you to easily build a website with no coding knowledge required. Just select one of the themes in the library, upload your own content, and use the click to edit interface to customize your site to your liking.

There are over 70 different content sections you can edit including, contact forms, image galleries, map integration, and more. Plus, the editor allows you to view what your site will look like on mobile, tablet, and desktop before you press publish. If you’re looking to take your design even further you can edit your site’s HTML.

One-Click Installations

Like most web hosts that cater to beginners, DreamHost provides one-click installations through its web panel. For example, you can install these apps with a click of your mouse:

  • Concrete5
  • Joomla
  • MediaWiki
  • phpBB
  • WordPress
  • ZenCart

Datacenter Locations

DreamHost has two datacenters, both in the US: Ashburn, Virginia, on the east coast and Hillsboro, Oregon, on the west coast.

Having more than one data center location can be helpful during power outages or blackouts. When you’re signing up for a hosting package you’ll want to specify the datacenter location that’s closest to you, or where the majority of your visitors are coming from. You can manage your datacenter from your control panel.

Plus, if you’re having a technical problem that actually has to do with the server environment, there are support teams at the physical locations of the servers.

Technical Support

DreamHost has its own in-house support staff, which is a change from other hosts who simply outsource its customer support. The team is available 24/7, so you’re supported whenever you’re experiencing a problem with your site.

You can place a support request as a ticket through your web panel, use the website’s contact form, or use live chat. You can also request a customer support phone call-back, but they don’t have a phone queue. No email support is offered at this time.

You’ll also gain access to an extensive knowledge base that can help you diagnose and solve most of your problems. Plus, a community forum that’s filled with product experts and customers just like you.

Overall, the speed of its support is top-notch, but the lack of phone support might be a turnoff for some users.

DreamHost knowledgebase
DreamHost’s knowledgebase auto-completes as you type and provides exceptionally clear results, helping you find what you need quickly.

Uptime and Service Guarantees

You want a host that stands behind its uptime guarantee, or at the very least boasts solid uptime numbers.

DreamHost offers an incredible 100% uptime guarantee. If your site goes down for any time at all you’ll get a refund for the portion of time your site was offline. Fortunately, DreamHost rarely goes down, if at all.

Since the downtime policy only begins once you submit a support request it’s important to open a support ticket the moment you expect a problem. The credit you’ll receive during downtime is calculated by 1 day of credit for every hour of downtime and will be capped at a maximum of 10% of your existing hosting fee.

Money-Back Guarantee

Sometimes the best way to get a feel for a host is to try them out yourself. Luckily, DreamHost offers a money-back guarantee.

DreamHost goes well beyond the traditional money-back guarantee and offers a 97-day money-back guarantee. However, there are some resections to the money-back guarantee. Namely, you need to have signed up for your account using a credit card and your account has to be in good standing and hasn’t been flagged for breaching the terms of service.

Assuming your account remains in good standing, nearly three months is plenty of time to see if DreamHost is going to be the right fit for your business.

DreamHost benefits

Reasons to Host With DreamHost

DreamHost offers site owners a ton of benefits. There is incredible support staff and offer a variety of hosting packages to cater to every kind of website owner. Below we take a look at some of the main reasons you’ll want to host with DreamHost.

1. Incredible Uptime and Performance

It’s difficult to find such a high-performing host at this price point. DreamHost not only provides stellar uptime but actually stand behind this claim by providing an extra day of service for every hour of downtime you experience. We haven’t seen a guarantee like this anywhere else.

Beyond uptime, it’s a very high-performance host. The loading speeds are incredibly fast, which is a must-have if you’re looking to compete online today.

2. Unlimited Bandwidth

Most hosts say they offer unlimited bandwidth, but when it gets down to the nuts and bolts it really isn’t unlimited after all.

DreamHost is different in that it actually allows unlimited bandwidth on the plans that offer it. When your site grows in popularity you don’t have to worry about network transfer or disc storage. Now, if your site has issues with optimization and is causing issues for other sites on a shared server, then you may be asked to upgrade to a private server.

There are some restrictions for sites whose sole purpose is to use disk space or bandwidth, so if your site does any of the following you won’t be able to use unlimited:

  • You have copyrighted content you don’t hold the rights to.
  • You run a file sharing and upload site.
  • Your site is built to drive traffic to another site.
  • Your account resources are being made available to the public.

3. Stellar Support

DreamHost has a very responsive support team. Whenever you run into an issue you can count on the support team to help you resolve your problem in as little time as possible.

Plus, there’s 24/7 support, from its actual staff. There’s no outsourcing here, like a lot of companies do. However, there isn’t any email support. All support requests are handled via tickets, phone call-backs, and live chat.

Reasons to Look Elsewhere for Hosting

DreamHost is a solid host, but still might not be right for every kind of website. If pricing is the main concern, or you demand more options geared towards setting up your first website, then there are better options out there. Below we look at three different reasons you might want to choose a host that’s not DreamHost.

1. It Can Be Pricey for a Budget Host

By all accounts the starter shared hosting package for DreamHost is geared towards budget-conscious website owners. But, the starter plan for DreamHost is on the pricier end of the spectrum.

The good news is that you can use our discount code to get Shared Unlimited hosting for only $5.95.

If the price is your sole consideration for choosing a host, then there are cheaper options. Just remember you get what you pay for. If your goal is growth, you might find yourself need to switch later anyway.

2. Lack of Original cPanel

Most hosts offer you cPanel access that remains pretty straightforward across any web host you use. But, DreamHost has created its own cPanel.

Those who have been using cPanel for years might find this change a little frustrating. While those building their first sites probably won’t notice the difference. If you’re a master of cPanel and want to keep using it, then there are plenty of hosts with the standard cPanel to choose from.

DreamHost difference

In Closing

Overall, DreamHost is on the pricier end of the spectrum for beginner hosting packages. But, those added costs are for good reason. It’s an incredibly reliable and high-performing host. Plus, the money-back guarantee can help to ensure your satisfaction if it’s not the right fit.

The wide variety of hosting packages give you room to grow. DreamHost is a true one-stop-shop for all of your hosting needs.

Check out our discounts on DreamHost’s hosting packages for your website. »

Plus, if you ever run into any technical issues the support team has your back 24/7. Whether you’re looking for a high-performance shared host, or want a host that can offer you a customized hosting package, then DreamHost is worth trying out.


Contributing editor: Natalie Mootz

Kevin Wood is a freelance writer specializing in technology and human potential. When he’s not digging deep into technical topics, you might find him getting lost in the woods or scrawling lines of poetry in a notebook.

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